The first quarter of the year 2015 was a turning point for SAFOD’s national affiliate in Zimbabwe, the Federation of Organisations of Disabled People in Zimbabwe (FODPZ). It is one of the few affiliates that has experienced internal institutional challenges over the past years which resulted in the federation’s declining institutional capacity (and to some extent, credibility) to manage disability programs as there was no strong governance structure in place after the tenure of its Executive Board expired.
However, the good news is that during the first quarter of 2015, the major highlight was the successful convening of an elective General Assembly on 27 to 28 February for the first time in fourteen years, which elected into office a seven member national committee for a three year term consisting of three men and four women. Funding from CBM enabled FODPZ to hold the elective general assembly.
Despite the federation experiencing institutional challenges prior to the General Assembly, FODPZ is in the third and final year of partnership with African Development Alliance (ADA). The partnership, whose objective is to implement a project called Communities of Practice in Disability Advocacy for Mainstreaming (COPDAM), targets influential government technocrats. COPDAM project also seeks influence civic organizations to embrace disability issues in all spheres of their work.
Although it is sad that the FODPZ’s funding for COPDAM project will be ending at the end of the year; the good news is that CBM promised to fund FODPZ to continue the activities of COPDAM. Several meetings were held between CBM officials and FODPZ. CBM is also organizing a meeting of all international development donor agents based in Harare, in order to introduce and link them with FODPZ. The tentative dates for the meeting is middle June this year.
Zimbabwe has no disability policy in place although there is a Disabled Persons Act (DPA) which was passed by Parliament in 1996. FODPZ together with other stakeholders produced a draft disability policy. The document can only become a policy when approved by Government.
It is however understood that Cabinet approved the draft Policy this year. The last stage left is the validation and the signing of the document by the responsible Government minister. The date for a meeting to validate the Disability Policy is not yet set by Government.
FODPAX new partner, CBM, has confirmed it may possibly fund the holding of the stakeholders’ meeting to finalize the validation of the Draft Policy.